With many organisations across the region feeling the pinch due to economic uncertainty, there is a strong need to make cost savings while also continuing to progress transformative digitalisation schemes. Vijay Babber, Senior Channel Manager, Gigamon, tells us how the company is working with its channel partners to enable customers to achieve this outcome while staying secure, as well as the importance of building strong partner relationships.
Could you tell us what financial pressures are organisations, including within the channel, are facing at this time?
With the global economic uncertainty many organisations are facing budget constraints. As a result, they’ve moved existing IT projects to the back of their priority list, or even put all spending on hold until they feel more confident about the economy and the impact on the bottom line.
So, those that were planning to spend on Digital Transformation this year have suddenly seen budget cuts imposed as a set of new priorities takes precedence.
And working with little, or sometimes zero budget, is not an easy task, especially as remote working and digital interactions are on the increase. Many organisations have parked new investment altogether and are focused on simply keeping the lights on or making the most of their existing network and tools.
With the focus on Digital Transformation in order to survive and thrive in the ‘new tomorrow’, how can companies balance innovation and cost savings?
The Digital Transformation shift was already picking up speed, way before the pandemic and the shift into the ‘new tomorrow’ has forced companies to advance or accelerate their Digital Transformation journeys exponentially, and quite rightly so, as it’s impacted how organisations operate across the world.
And this sudden acceleration has allowed organisations to innovate, broaden their thinking in terms of operations, their people, their security. Adopting a zero-trust architecture is a key example.
Another example is moving new SaaS applications to cloud. But at the same time, optimising and doing more with their existing infrastructure has been crucial in terms of cost saving, especially as more and more organisations have seen such dramatic budget cuts.
Can you tell us about any initiatives your company has embarked on during these challenging times to support your customers?
Complete network visibility into north-south and east-west traffic, ensuring organisation’s security and monitoring tools perform as efficiently and as best as they possibly can, is extremely important.
And this is only possible with a best of breed network/security visbility platform. We are continually empowering our channel partners so that they can go that extra mile with their customers to ensure they stay secure and identify faster ways to protect them from any malicious attacks – of which we have seen a massive increase.
Providing our channel partners with the joint solutions they need, as well as demand generation initiatives and financing options in these challenging times is key to help them in their success.
How are you working with your partners to help end users find a solution that will save them money while improving their network performance, using their existing infrastructure?
From what I’ve seen in the MEA region, partners’ priorities to their customers have changed. Existing projects have been put on hold with new Digital Transformation initiatives. Budgets have been cut. Work from home or fluid workplace is putting pressure on networks and tools.
We are helping our channel partners with a way of demonstrating immediate cost savings to their customers. We have recently created an ROI Value calculator to show how investing in Gigamon can pay for itself, sometimes in as little as three months.
While Gigamon brings dozens of measurable IT benefits, this ROI Value calculator shows our partners how their customers can save additional expense by reducing unwanted traffic to their tools, substantially reduce tool costs over time and optimise their existing tools for increased performance and efficiency. We can even help them demonstrate why they don’t necessarily need to invest in new tools.
Can you tell us about Gigamon’s channel strategy/ecosystem and the benefits that offers across the region?
In the MEA region, partners’ priorities to their customers have changed, from what I have seen. Existing projects have been put on hold with new Digital Transformation initiatives. Budgets have been cut.
Work from home or fluid workplaces are putting pressure on networks and tools. We are helping our channel partners with a way of demonstrating immediate cost savings to their customers.
We have created an ROI value calculator to show how investing in Gigamon can pay for itself, sometimes in as little as three months. Whilst Gigamon brings dozens of measurable IT benefits, the ROI value calculator shows our partners how their customers can save additional expense by reducing unwanted traffic to their tools, substantially reduce tool costs over time and optimise their existing tools for increased performance and efficiency. We can even help them demonstrate why they don’t necessarily need to invest in new tools.
How have you been able to continue with, with enablement during the last couple of months?
It’s been somewhat challenging as we usually try to have face-to-face enablement sessions which obviously hasn’t been possible. But as I already mentioned, we have a lot of online tools and I believe that this period has provided an opportunity for our partners to take the time to succeed in delivering the right value, through adding to the messaging and services that they offer to their customers.
Despite the lack of cross border travel, we have helped our partners in delivering solutions to their customers. By adding further incentives to our partners during these tough times in the form of rich discounts and deal registrations as well as awarding them for online learning and certification has proven extremely valuable.
How would you describe your own management style?
In terms of managing the channel partners, I would say that flexibility and transparency are key. As a global company, we obviously have channel-based directives from the global HQ and EMEA teams, but what works for the US or European channel may not necessarily work for the Middle East and African channel.
It can sometimes be a challenge, but I find that being flexible with our partners and focusing on building and cementing strong relationships based on patience, honesty and trust is imperative and that has formed my management style.
What are the latest trends that you see emerging across the channel?
Aside from the continuing growth of Digital Transformation and cloud adoption in the region, I personally believe a key trend going forward is going to be on channel enablement – partner programmes and assisting the channel more so they can be successful.
Building strong relationships with our channel partners is incredibly important and I believe that improving the partner experience is just as important as the focus on customer experience. As the majority of our business goes through our partners, the channel is no longer a resale and fulfilment function.
Partners play a key role in ensuring a positive customer experience and we can shape that by improving the partner experience. Particularly with the economic downturn in mind and considering many of our partners facing financial struggles, I think the smarter vendors will be focusing on partner experience and partner programmes to provide them more support and help everyone through this difficult period.